WHEN WILL GOV. OBASEKI LEARN HOW TO PLAY PARTY POLITICS?

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FREEPRESS – Gov. Obaseki should commit more time to the study of party politics. He appears to only understand the winning of party tickets from the narrow and emergent prismatic approach of suddenly spending public funds without prudence, promoting violence amongst Party members and securing court orders from Edo State High Court against the letters and spirit of his party’s constitution.

He has shown no understanding of the consequences of protracted neglect of the welfare of party members, the failure to create economic opportunities of growth for the local population including his own party members, the disrespect for the structures of his party at all levels, the frequent insults thrown at those who helped him to power and the regular violence inflicted on his party members from a gang of political thugs led by an exuberant Government
appointee from Ikpoba Okha LGA.

It is getting apparent that Gov. Obaseki does not even care about the sustainability of the State ‘s legacy projects like the storm water project, central hospital or the construction of good quality roads that his predecessors were known for. As far as he is concerned, his second term ticket is non-negotiable and he is prepared to abandon governance completely to get it at all cost. In order to paint Comrade Oshomhole as a devil, he halted the continuation of existing projects introduced by Comrade Oshiomhole and encouraged the spread of dirty rumors about his benefactor’s alleged hatred for Benin people and love of godfatherism as if he was not the greatest beneficiary of Comrade Oshomhole. During his campaigns, there were many who believed he had a speech defect as he could barely open his mouth to campaign for votes.

Today, his favorite mantra is “ I will crush them”. Where was his crushing machine when they had to postpone election for two weeks in Edo State out of the fear of an impending defeat by Ize-Iyamu. Where was his crushing machine when the Ijaws in Edo State dared him and defied his directive that they must not install a traditional ruler in Benin pronvince. He could not bite. The ijaws have not only installed a traditional ruler, they have built a palace there and are now molesting the Benin indigenes in their own land. The crushing machines of Gov. Obaseki went to sleep against a challenging nation but is available against defenseless party members who are now the play things of his new militia.

It is now public knowledge that Osemwigie Ero, Edo State’s Commissioner for Arts and Culture has been arrested for money laundering, prostitution racketeering and human trafficking. Who does not know that the Commissioner has been abandoned by Gov. Obaseki? Do we need a soothsayer to tell the world who the real owners of the money found in possession of the Commissioner are? Even those who are today hailing Gov. Obaseki know in their hearts that the Osemwengie Ero scandal has deeply embarrassed his government. The claim to financial honesty has been Pooh-poohed by the scandal. The public has discovered a big secret. Even Edo State Government Officials are involved in money laundering and EFCC has confirmed this. Unfortunately, this has inflicted a deep scar on his self-parroted credibility.

The prevailing vogue amongst Gov. Obaseki’s associates is to openly boast about how there would be no primaries in APC in Edo State for the 2020 primaries. The story is that Obaseki must be given the ticket by consensus or hell would let loose. How on earth would a man who claims to control the structures of the party be afraid to contest primary elections in his own party? Apart from this, they openly boast that they would beat up NWC’s appointed team for the conduct of the primaries and force them to sign the result sheets in favour of Obaseki and that if they don’t have their way, they would foist the Zamfara model on Edo State. How unserious can a group be? This was a group that conspired with the police to stop a mere political rally in Benin City, but failed woefully in that regard. Instead, what we saw was a melt down in Benin City as the rally not only held, it was attended by thousands of party supporters from all over Edo State. Talk is indeed cheap.

The other angle to their threat is that they would secure a court order to stop any primary election in their own party in order to have any other party win the election in 2020. Just imagine the type of thoughts that are being conceived by so-called party members against their own political party. Is APC the private property of Godwin Obaseki? In 2016, Odubu, Ogiemwonyi, Gen. Charles , Imansuangbon and others allegedly lost the primaries to Gov. Obaseki, they did not pull down the roof of their party. They worked for Obaseki and under the supervision of Oshomhole, they managed to overcome the meticulous and clinical Ize-Iyamu by about 50,000 votes. Oshomhole himself openly admitted that the 2016 election which produced Obaseki as Governor has been his toughest of many battles.

How can a group of political actors so ridicule Edo State High Court and make that arm of Government a laughing stock. The judiciary in the State is to emasculated to the extent that they are forced to grant court orders on ceremonial days even after declaring such days sitting-free. Such is the level that the power freaks controlling Edo State Government have reduced the State Judiciary to. Happily, there are Appellate courts to review the shameful threat of using State High Courts to block APC primaries.

The approach to party politics that has been witnessed so far in Edo State, is uncommonly ugly. It emphasizes ingratitude instead of appreciation, violence in place of building bridges and arrogance rather than persuasiveness. No wonder Mr. Osakue who managed Gov. Obaseki’s campaign in 2016 recently said that Obaseki’s regime lacks “emotional intelligence and inclusiveness resulting from technocratic divertimento”. He was very right. The question is; has Gov. Obaseki learnt any lesson in the management of party politics? From all indications, he definitely has learnt nothing.

Peter Edegbe is a political Commentator based in Benin City.

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